WE are the ones who God loves the most. WE are the ones for whom the Father sent His own Son to die. WE are the ones who sin, yet are promised eternal life because of faith. WE are given grace. And WE don’t deserve it.
So who is WE?
Unfortunately, “WE” isn’t used enough. Or at least not properly. All too often, the words “us” and “them/they” are used in place of the inclusive “WE.” What does this mean? It means that we have forgotten a huge part of our humanity – and that is, the fact that WE are all human. WE may be different, but WE are all simply that: WE.
I have become increasingly aware of the amount of times I say “us” and “them” particularly in regards to people experiencing homelessness. Why is it that I divide humanity rather than bring it all together? I won’t be hyper-critical of myself simply because it is engrained in our society. People are brought up with the social classes that they are born into, and that’s just the way it is.
But the question I am begging here is this: At the root of it all, (taking into account all of our beautiful differences), aren’t WE all really the same?
By this, I mean aren’t WE all the WE that I described in the beginning. God made us all to be His, to be Chosen, to be Loved. He never intended for us to divide ourselves by petty differences. Yet when we focus on our differences that are just that – petty – then the outcomes are only negative. I am not asserting that differences are bad and we should all just live a monotone life lacking individuality. Not at all. But what we do need to do is have a re-focus on the differences that matter, and the ones that don’t.
Someone’s whose culture is different than mine who may celebrate Ramadan instead of Christmas = example of a good, legitimate difference. We can learn from each other. This is productive. The use of “they” and “us” can be used in a way that isn’t offensive and doesn’t offend either group’s human dignity, nor disrespect their beliefs.
Someone who has found themselves down on their luck and are getting a meal at the soup kitchen, served by me. = example of a divisive, petty difference. In a situation like this, what must be focused on is the humanity of both myself and the guest at the homeless shelter. If the words “us” and “them” are used in a situation like this, they are ambiguous and only serve as divisive and oppressive labels.
Does this make sense? I hope so. I really think that probably nine times out of ten, we don’t intend the result of these words. We don’t intend to divide, we just don’t think about it. Our goals are not malicious or involve making people feel in the “out” group, but it happens nonetheless.
Perhaps this reflection will cause you to think twice about the ways in which you address the world around you. In the same way that the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign rose awareness about how the word “retarded” is over-used and mis-used, I hope that this post makes us all think twice when we choose the ways in which we define and label groups. Sometimes, if we take a step back, we realize that the important thing is our similarities — the love that God has for all of His people. He is blind to the petty differences, and we can only pray to get to that point as well.
— And for the Bible verse for today, I’m gonna leave you with Genesis 28:15 – “Know that I am with you; I will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.”